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Re: GPL and other licences

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: GPL and other licences
Date: Sun, 05 Feb 2006 11:14:06 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

"Alfred M\. Szmidt" <> writes:

> The license _does_ apply.

It applies to the licensee, the company.  Not its workers.

> It is you who don't get it.  You are saying that all companies that
> have illegal copies of Windows, are not breaking the law,

Liar.  I say no such thing.

> since they are `for internal use' and no rules apply.

Nonsense.  Any company that does so is breaking the law.  Since the
_company_ is bound by the license.  And a company worker is to some
part responsible for that as well: if the company head tells a worker
to dump poisonous substances into a river (or commit murder, to make
this more blunt), the worker can be held responsible by the state.
But certainly so can be the company.

Where crime is concerned, every individual can beheld accountable _as_
_well_ as his superiors and company in general, if it is done as part
of his job and not his own idea.  But we are not talking about
crimes.  We are talking about licenses and permissions, rights.  And
the worker does not acquire any rights to company property.

> You are also speaking about some kind of owner of the software, you
> cannot own software!

Liar.  I am pointing out time and again that it is the physical
tangible copy that is owned.  And this ownership which is not
transferred to the company worker implies rights to the content:
granted by copyright, possibly constrained by contracts, possibly
extended by licenses.  The company is bound by those conditions, and
they don't magically disappear because a worker is acting on behalf of
this company.

> I don't know where you got that idea.  You are obviously confusing
> property law and copyright law.  If you give me a copy of a program
> on a CD, then I cannot do what I want with the _CD_, this is
> perfectly true.  But I can do whatever I want with the _CONTENT_ on
> the CD _if_and_only_if_ the license allows me to do this.

You are conflating "give" as "transfer ownership" and "make available
for the sake of doing a company job".  If you get the ownership of the
CD, as in being given it as a present or being sold it, then the
content of the CD is yours to use under copyright and under the
license you received it (as long as the person giving you the CD had
the right to give it to you).  The original license is relevant only
as far as it determines whether this transfer or new licensing is

For example, I can take some MIT-style licensed software CD, make a
copy of it (or take the original), and sell it to you, granting you
only the rights of the GPL.  If you use the software in non-GPLed
software afterwards, you are in breach of the license under which you
received the software from me.  And I was in the position to relicense
the software since the MIT-style license gave me that right.

> You cannot go and say that the license is void because of this or
> that reason; no judge in the world will agree with you nor will any
> lawyer.  The GPL has _NO_ clause that allows you to `violate the
> license for internal use'.

Certainly not.  The licensee is bound by the license.  The licensee is
the company, and has to abide by the license.  But "internal use" does
not count as "distribution".  Wherever the license talks about the
rights of third persons and recipients of copies, company workers are
not concerned.  They are not a third person, and they don't "receive"
a copy when they work with it.

> Copyright law still applies within the walls of a company; always
> has and always will.

To the company, yes.  You are just unable to stop beating that
strawman.  A company worker is not a separate third party.

> But according to you, this is simply impossible since you can do
> whatever you want with a private copy of something;

Liar.  There is no "private copy" involved here at all, and you can do
_nothing_ whatsoever with a company copy except what the company tells

Copyright does not apply here.  You get _no_ rights to copy or
otherwise use the software, under _no_ circumstances.  Because as a
company worker you are not the person owning the copy.  And the
_rights_ granted by either copyright or license apply _only_ to the
owner of software.

> Copyright law has no concept of `internal use'.  That some FAQ says
> this or that is completely and utterly irrelevant.

Corporate law has a concept of a company as a legal entity of its own
capable of making contracts and other legal interactions, such as
licensing software.  And workers acting on behalf of the company,
using company property without becoming its owners.

"internal use" is defined in corporate laws.  

> The only person who doesn't understand how law operates is you, you
> have also shown complete and utter lack any candor, and have
> resorted to name calling on several ocassions.  The only person
> spreading falsehoods is you David.

Well, you are repeatedly and systematically attributing nonsense to me
that I never said.  After correcting this several times, I am afraid
that it becomes hard to attribute it to stupidity instead of malice.

Anyway, I am not the "only person spreading falsehoods" according to
your reckoning since it is the interpretation of the FSF as well.
Read the FAQ.  I pointed out the article number to you after you
claimed that this was not in the FAQ.

Claiming falsehoods about what people say or don't say seem to happen
a lot to you.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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